Hello fellow Border Collie lovers!
I'm just going to start by apologizing that I'm another newbie who's going to post asking for advice, but I have read through so many threads that now I feel like I have too many competing ideas floating around my head.
I am 22 and Addison is my first dog on my own. I know a Border Collie is a bold choice for a first dog, but I have a lot of time to devote to her, previous experience with dogs, and the commitment to work with her. Plus I found her on craigslist and felt responsible for taking care of her so she didn't end up with someone less capable! I had been looking for a dog for a while and found a college kid's add for her on craigslist. He had gotten her before he had an apartment and only had her for two weeks before he signed a new lease that didn't allow dogs.....idiotic, but none the less he needed her gone by the end of the day. He told me that she is "probably" a Border Collie Sheltie mix, but he wasn't sure because he had bought her from someone who rescued dogs from Amish farms.
So far, I think he's correct. Addie has the body of a Sheltie and a coat that looks like it could be a cross between Sheltie and Smooth coated Border- longer than a smooth coated, but shorter and less silky than a rough coated border. Addison is 10 months, 28lbs and stands just below my knee. She has extremely long legs, and a long face like a Sheltie but the coloring of a Border and definitely the temperament!
Addie is everything you could hope for in a BC. She is inquisitive, aware, playful, sweet and devoted. She is the sweetest, most quiet, most loving and attentive dog I've ever met - when people meet her they are basically mesmerized by her soft, expressive eyes. She has the BC stare and is very chatty but pretty much only with me. She was surprised/afraid of anything unfamiliar when I first got her and would bark and bark until I could get her to investigate it. She still does this rarely, but she is much more confident and less skiddish. She doesn't crouch like I had expected, but from what I understand not 100% of BCs do. Since she's from an Amish farm she may not even be mixed at all - who knows.
I've definitely found that mental games and human interaction wear her out much better and faster than anything physical so I try to do both every day. As far as mental games go, Addie really enjoys anytime I hide something - especially treats inside of something. She loves to guess which of the three cups a treat is under when I shuffle them around. She loves to try and guess where I'm going to through her ball and to follow me around the house. I've never seen her as tired as after we take a walk down a really busy street or to the quad on my campus because there's so much to see and so many people to meet. It also only took me a couple months to realize that she's probably not a dog park kind of dog. Like the other BCs on this thread, she is very choosy about who she deems worthy of friendship. At the park she often acts as the "fun police" and comes home more wound up that before we left.
Addie has an alpha dog personality and always wants to be top dog in a group. Only on a couple occasions have I seen her take spot number two and that's my parents labradoodle and my boyfriends parents dogs. Both occasions involved her and I visiting someone's house where there already was an alpha dog and an extensive introduction among the dogs where I had to have Addison lie on her back and let the other dogs sniff her. She's occasionally stubborn when it comes to me giving her commands, but it's becoming less frequent as I'm strict about being top dog. I'm starting to think it may just be a teenage phase.
Sorry for the extensive description I'm just hoping the more you know the better you can help! Now for the two behaviors I'm having a hard time understanding and choosing a method of training her on!
1. She barks out the window constantly and excessively/loudly. I have read that this could mean she isn't stimulated/exercised enough at home and that could be true..but more than anything it seems like she has chosen the job of guard dog and is taking it very seriously. She hears and sees things I've never noticed and makes sure I notice them! I've tried a couple different things - telling her off the couch or away from the window and making her sit until she relaxes then allowing her to return - just recently I started going over to the window letting her know I see what it is and then giving her an end command. Both work to get her to stop barking in the moment, but neither has taught her to stop or at least limit her barking overall. She will bark at something in the street endlessly unless I give her a command or come to the window and even then she's really reluctant to stop.
2. She's a nightmare on her leash. And I don't mean tugging which she does, but we've made a lot of progress towards heeling recently so I'm not so worried. Anytime she sees another dog she goes completely insane - lunging, growling, barking like a maniac. Usually she spends a couple minutes intently watching the dog - her posture will be alert but not aggressive at first. Sometimes she will even sit and wait for them to pass - which I think is because she knows she must sit in order to get anything she wants (not that I give her everything she wants, but I only ever allow her to do things once she sits first) I also taught her to do this when there are too many people walking by. I live in Chicago so sometimes there's a stroller, a kid on a scooter and two parents all on one side walk and I find it a lot easier to just take a step aside and have Addie sit and wait for them to pass. The only problem is a lot of fellow dog owners think this is a sign or her being very friendly and well behaved..only to realize once they get too close that she's a maniac who wants to literally murder their dog. Here's the issue - I can't decide if it's fear aggression or just straight up aggression. At first I was all about strict discipline and it only kind of worked like she knew she had done something bad but it seemed as though she cared about the job more than anything. Recently I've switched to a baiting/distracting tactic. I also read that she could be picking up on my fear/tension so now when we're walking and she sees a dog approaching, I'll use a soft happy voice and say something like "Addie who is that? is that a puppy friend? look at that friend!" (dont laugh haha) it seems to help especially combined with a happy, comforting but very rushed passing by the dog.
I guess I'm looking for advice because like a typical BC she learned everything so quickly and I feel like I've got to be doing something wrong, or at least not good enough, if I still haven't been able to discourage her from starting these two behaviors. Like I said I've gotten pretty good at getting her to stop once she starts, but is there hope that someday she just won't start? Ideally I would like to absolutely eliminate the walking problem - Chicago is a busy city and I want to be able to walk my pup in peace! I understand that the barking out the window might not be able to be completely eradicated and I don't mind, but if I could just get it to a couple, not so intense, warning barks I would be so pleased.
I'm open to anything and everything, but mainly looking sincere, helpful, friendly advice. I'm sure I've exposed some of my BC ignorance or just naivety in my post, but if you could just be kind I would really appreciate it. Thank you!